Got Water? The Case for Hydration Revisited

By Michael A. Smith, MD

We all need water, but why do we need it? Let’s count the ways.

For starters, a lack of water can lead to something called “volume depletion,” which is when there isn’t enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. As a matter of fact, even slight drops in your total water volume can drain you of your energy and make you feel tired.

Water is also crucial for flushing out toxins, carrying nutrients to your cells, and providing a healthy environment for your ears, nose and throat.

So, you may already know that we need plenty of water to survive and thrive, but let’s explore three lesser-known benefits of water that you may not be aware of.

More Water, Less Bloating

First off, water improves digestion. It creates an aqueous environment that helps digestive enzymes function properly and break-down foods.

Water also helps dissolve soluble fiber in your digestive system, facilitating better nutrient absorption and the elimination of excess fat and sugar calories.

Water Keeps You from Overeating

Water can also help you manage your weight. Drinking water with a meal distends the stomach, and this distention helps signal to the brain that you’re full.

Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help promote weight loss, according to a clinical study presented at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.1

Brenda Davy, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech and senior author of the study, says that drinking just two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals helps people manage their weight.

Dr. Davy, in an August 2010 interview with WebMD Health News, said:

"We presented results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy. We found in earlier studies that middle-aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during the meal."2

Joints and Muscles: The Wetter the Better

Finally, water lubricates joints and hydrates muscles. Lubricated joints feel better, and hydrated muscles metabolize and eliminate toxins better.

With healthy joints and muscles, you can exercise longer and harder. Make it a point to be well-hydrated the next time you work out — the results may surprise you.

The 8 x 8 Water Rule

How much water should you drink every day? Many people follow the "8 x 8 rule" — drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, which is roughly two liters a day. This fits in pretty well with the recommendations from The Institute of Medicine, which advises two-to-three liters a day.

Your (In)Take

Do you drink enough water during the day? Do you struggle to keep hydrated? Please let us know in the comments!


  1. News release, American Chemical Society. 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, Aug 22–26, 2010. Brenda Davy, Ph.D. Associate professor, Virginia Tech, Balcksburg, VA.
  2. Bill Hendrick. Water May Be Secret Weapon in Weight Loss. August 2010. WebMD Health News.


Anonymous said...

Although I agree we need to drink more water, I also think we have to use commonsense when deciding the amount. Over 2 liters/day would keep me in the bathroom all day, and I don't feel like my body requires that amount. I try to walk around with water present everywhere so that I can take drinks every few minutes, and I eat a lot of fruit and veggies that contain a lot of water. I do feel we need to be vigilant about water consumption or we will definitely not drink the amounts we should or need.

Life Extension said...

We agree with you completely. Everyone is different and everyone requires different amounts of water. The amount mentioned here is just an average and gives people a general guideline. Thanks for your comment!

Steven Blake said...

I help people with weight loss and can now judge how much weight people will lose in the first week by how much water they currently drink. People who don't currently drink much seem to lose about 3 to 5lbs more than ones who already drink adequate water. It does seem to be that non water drinkers are constantly carrying around an extra emergency amount. And that the body once it is satisfied it will have regular water allows this additional supply to be released. It also happens that it quickly returns if they struggle to drink water even for one day.

LifeExtension said...

Steven Blake - Interesting! Thanks for sharing your observations.

Anonymous said...

My routine is 1 liter during my morning workout, 2 liters throughout the day at work, and one liter at dinner. I have noticed that the more consistent I am about sticking to my routine, the less trips to the bathroom. My question concerns my addition of a splash of apple cider vinegar every time I fill up my 1 liter bottle. Is there a limit to how much acv to take in a day? I haven't noticed any negative effects.

LifeExtension said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LifeExtension said...

Anonymous - In one study, participants safely drank 2 cups daily for 12 weeks. A splash, once in a while is probably fine.

Bobby Leo said...

Beer has water in it so I'm good. :-)

Life Extension said...

Bobby Leo- Hmmm we're not sure about beer. It contains alcohol which is dehydrating. ;-)

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